California Loves Laws

The California Legislature loves to pass new laws. When in doubt, draft a new law.

When L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling wrote off $2.5 million dollars in NBA fines, the Legislature got to work and added a law barring sports team owners from writing off league penalties on their taxes.

Overall Governor Jerry signed 930 new laws and vetoed another 143. Here’s a few you may find of interest.

CHICKENS TOO COOPED

Californian’s believed chicken coops were too cooped, tight living quarters, so we passed an initiative to give chickens room to spread their wings – literally. Chicken farmers in California (and out of state but being challenged) must comply or they can’t sell eggs in California. My favorite argument against the new law was: “housing chickens in larger pens will allow them to run around and hurt themselves.”

UNDOCUMENTED DRIVERS

Under a law passed in 2013, effective January 1, 2015, undocumented immigrants will be able to obtain a specially-marked driver’s license, and will have access to low-cost auto insurance through a State program.

PLASTIC BAGS

Following Truckee’s lead, California will begin phasing out single-use plastic bags as of July 1 in grocery stores and pharmacies and a year from July in convenience and liquor stores. Give me a call or send an e-mail if you would like your own Porter Simon “irreverent lawyer quips” grocery carryout bag – free for the asking. Going like hot cakes.

SEXUAL ASSAULT

Colleges and universities in California are required to adopt long overdue policies against sexual assault that rewrite what constitutes “consent.” The standard for consent to sexual activity in campus judicial hearings shifts from whether a person said “no” to whether both parties said “yes.”

INTERNET CRIMES/SELFIES

The law against posting sexually explicit photos of someone online as a means of retaliation (“revenge porn”) is extended to photos taken, though not posted, by the victim. Anyone who violates the law by disseminating a protected image may be charged with a misdemeanor and is subject to a civil suit for money damages (the victim may sue in court under a pseudonym).

BIRTH/DEATH CERTIFICATES

Birth Certificates will be redesigned to accommodate same-sex couples who instead of having to select “mother” or “father” may choose “parent” as an option. Death Certificates for transgender people will now require coroners to list the gender consistent with how the person lived instead of the person’s anatomy.

MUG SHOTS

Websites no longer may profit from posting arrest mug shots by charging embarrassed people to have them removed. Violators are subject to a $1,000 civil penalty for each violation by this “mug shot racket.”

SCHOOL PESTICIDES

Parents will now have the right to know what pesticides are used at K-12 schools and most licensed childcare centers. Pesticides may still be used on campuses to get rid of cockroaches and the like as a last resort — with full disclosure.

KING FIRE

No doubt stemming from the King Fire last summer, arsonists causing damages and firefighting costs exceeding $7 million may be sentenced to prison for ten years to life, longer than previous law. “I busted a mirror and got seven years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five.” I love that.

ALLERGIES IN SCHOOL

Public schools must stock epinephrine injectors so medicine can be administered quickly to students who suffer serious allergic reactions. More laws next week.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOA’s, contracts, personal injury, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or www.portersimon.com.  

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